The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Night of the vandals at JU

A mob, allegedly comprising some inmates of Jadavpur University’s main hostel and outsiders, went on the rampage on the campus on Thursday night, ransacking the Science Club and the office of the CPM-backed Karmachari Sansad.

For one-and-a-half hours from 10.30 pm, the mob destroyed furniture and computers, smashed photographs of communist leaders on the ground and set several documents on fire.

Called in by police, who were stationed at the gate, a fire tender rushed to the spot and doused the flames.

Hours earlier, members of We the Independents (WTI), an anti-SFI group that has swept the union election of the science faculty, had alleged that they had been assaulted by Sansad members.

The SFI blamed the WTI for the vandalism and called a students’ strike in the city on Monday (schools are exempted) to demand immediate arrest of the guilty. The organisation has also started a sit-in on the campus for 72 hours.

Members of the Karmachari Sansad, a union of non-teaching employees of the university, announced a ceasework, which they said will continue till the “culprits are identified and punished”.

However, all three anti-SFI groups in the faculty — WTI, Forum for Arts Students and Democratic Students’ Forum — denied their involvement in the incident. “We have won the election, so it would be stupid of us to go on the rampage and spoil our image,” said Proloy Kumar Saha of WTI.

Registrar Rajat Kumar Bandyopadhyay said a probe has been ordered and an FIR lodged with the local police station. “We will investigate the matter thoroughly and those found guilty will be dealt with sternly,” he asserted.

A guard on the campus informed the registrar on Thursday night that a large number of students from the main hostel, armed with iron rods, choppers and lathis, had proceeded towards Jadavpur station.

“I immediately called police, requesting them to ensure that no trouble broke out... After all, they are like our children. But soon after, the guard reported that the students had forcefully entered the campus and vandalised the Science Club and the adjacent office of the Karmachari Sansad,” Bandyopadhyay added.

The registrar suspects that outsiders “had instigated” a section of anti-SFI students to carry out the vandalism. “I believe it was pre-planned. While destroying the university’s property, they were raising slogans and shouting obscenities,” Bandyopadhyay said.

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